When should I claim on pet insurance?

Has your cat or dog got into a scrape or do they need treatment for a medical condition? If so, you may need to claim on your pet insurance. Here’s our guide to what’s usually covered, when to make a claim and how to go about it.

Has your cat or dog got into a scrape or do they need treatment for a medical condition? If so, you may need to claim on your pet insurance. Here’s our guide to what’s usually covered, when to make a claim and how to go about it.

Mubina Pirmohamed
Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 10 MARCH 2022

What can I claim for on my pet insurance?

Pet insurance policies differ depending on the insurance provider and the type of policy you have. You can typically claim for:

  • Costs of treatment if your pet has an accident.
  • Costs of treating your pet if it becomes ill.
  • A compensation payment if your pet dies.
  • Compensation if you lose your pet – plus cover for the costs of advertising (and possibly a reward) to get your pet home safely.
  • Liability insurance – for example, if your dog injures another animal or person, or damages property.
  • Costs of boarding your pet if you become ill and need help looking after them.
  • Emergency treatment for your pet when you’re abroad.

What can’t I claim for on my pet insurance?

Again, exclusions will vary depending on the policy, but most pet insurance providers won’t cover you for:

There might also be a waiting period before you can make a claim – for example, you may not be able to claim for an illness your pet develops within 14 days of taking out your policy.

You’ll need to pay any agreed excess – the amount you pay towards an insurance claim. And if you have a co-payment policy, where you pay a set percentage of each claim amount, you’ll have to pay this on top of the excess.

When should I claim on pet insurance?

Ideally you should make a claim as soon as your pet has an accident, is diagnosed with an illness or as soon as possible after paying vet fees in an emergency. Your provider might have a time limit within which you need to make a claim – 30 days, for example – so check your policy to see what this is. Some policies will pay your vet directly for the cost of treatment so you’re not left out of pocket.

How do I make a claim?

First check your policy documents to see if you’re covered for the claim you want to make. If you’re not sure whether you’re covered, contact your insurance provider. The phone number will be in your policy document and on your provider’s website.

Depending on your provider, you may be able to make your claim entirely online, or you may need to call them to start the process.

Typically, you’ll be able to download a claim form from your insurance provider’s website, which you’ll need to complete and email to them. If you’re not sure about any of the information you’re asked for, ask your provider to clarify. 

Some sections of the claim form may need to be completed by your vet. If so, take the form to the surgery as soon as possible. Your vet may charge you for doing this. They might also send the claim form to your insurance provider for you.
Information your provider is likely to ask for includes:

  • Your personal details and details of your pet including its microchip number.
  • Brief details of the illness, injury or condition you’re claiming for.
  • Details of the diagnosis and treatment your pet has received – your vet may need to provide this information.
  • Treatment costs – again, your vet may need to provide these.
  • Invoices and receipts.
  • A description of the event you’re claiming for if it doesn’t involve vet fees – for example, a lost pet or boarding fees.

Check your policy to see whether your insurance provider will pay the vet directly or if you’ll need to settle the bill and then claim back the cost. If your pet had emergency treatment, you might have already paid the vet, so you’ll be claiming for reimbursement on your pet insurance.

Will my pet insurance costs go up if I make a claim?

More than likely, yes. Your insurance provider may take the view that if you’ve made one claim, you’re more likely to make another – bumping up your premiums as a result.  

The same is true if you’ve had to claim for accidents or for losing your pet.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that an insurance provider will take your pet’s health history into account when considering a new application for insurance. So you might find you’re quoted a higher price than you were expecting.

And remember, it’s unlikely they’ll cover a pre-existing condition like a long-term illness. It makes sense to compare to make sure you’re getting a good deal when you come to renew your pet insurance. 

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What should I do if my claim is rejected?

If you’re not happy with the outcome of your claim, the first step is to contact your insurance provider, explaining why you think the rejection was unfair. It should have its own procedure for dealing with complaints. If you’re still not happy with the outcome, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to get a pay out for a pet insurance claim?

Processing a pet insurance claim is usually straightforward and it should take between five and 10 working days to get a pay out. If you’d like to know an estimated date for the pay out, just give your provider a call. Depending on your provider, it may be possible to track the progress of your claim online.

Could a delay in telling the insurance provider cause problems?

Possibly. Any delay in informing your insurance provider could delay the processing of your claim and mean you may have to wait longer for a pay out.

And if you don’t claim within any set time limit, your claim may not be paid. Time limits for claiming can vary among providers, so check your policy as soon as you need to make a claim.

Why might a pet insurance claim be rejected?

There are a number of reasons a claim might be rejected. It may be because what you’ve claimed for is considered a pre-existing condition or one that developed during the waiting period after you took out your policy - during which you’re not eligible to claim. A claim may also be rejected if it exceeds the time limit set for treatment in a time-limited policy.

Can I get a no claims discount on my pet insurance?

Not usually. Many providers don’t offer this as they don’t want to discourage people from taking their pets to the vet if they need treatment.

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